The main driving force behind every company is having a steady flow of new leads coming in to ensure sustained growth. Without a way to consistently attract new customers, a business is doomed to shrink and eventually succumb to the competitors.
That’s why, developing an effective lead generation strategy should be a top priority for any company – simply running promotions without knowing what’s actually bringing in new clients is not only ineffective, but also quite expensive.
But the problem is, no matter how well you optimize your lead generation efforts, not all of your leads will be ready to buy immediately after seeing your promotions. Even prospects who are otherwise a great fit for your company may have obstacles that need to be overcome before they can commit.
That’s where lead nurturing can be so beneficial.
If you want to get the most out of your lead generation methods, you need to have a lead nurturing system that can take your leads wherever they may be and guide them through their obstacles and doubts towards deciding to buy your products.
Having a way to educate your prospects and establish your status as an authority can help you significantly improve your conversion rates and allow you to be more daring in your marketing strategies, further expanding your reach.
But where should you begin?
Well, developing solid lead generation practices can be a challenging task, so, to make the process easier, here are some of the most effective lead nurturing strategies that you can start implementing as soon as today.
Let’s Get Started – How Do You Get Leads for Nurturing?
Before you can develop a system for providing personalized nurturing to your leads, you need to have a reliable and consistent process for getting the leads in the first place.
What’s more, if you want your lead nurturing strategy to be effective, you need to create a lead scoring system and be able to measure where each lead is in his buyer journey when he enters your funnel.
After all, if you don’t have at least an approximate idea of how informed and advanced your lead is, it will be tough to provide him with a personalized nurturing experience and guide him forward.
Having this knowledge will dictate the content, timing, and relevance of all your communications with your prospects, so your lead generation system must be able to provide you a bit of information.
So, how can you sort your leads and find out more information?
Well, although the system will largely depend on your market, your brand, and your audience, there are some common questions you need to answer about your audience to develop a lead generation strategy that provides you with specific insights on how to nurture them.
Here are the questions that you must answer:
Who Is Your Potential Customer?
The first step of developing a lead nurturing strategy is identifying the ideal potential customer that you want to attract.
And that makes sense – if you don’t even know who is it that you want to reach and are just blindly running promotions, it will be impossible to develop any personalized nurturing strategy that appeals to your prospects.
If you have previous sales, this process becomes much easier – you can look at your typical buyer portfolio and look for commonalities such as age, gender, occupation, interests, preferences, market sophistication, common obstacles, and countless other metrics.
By the end of the process, you should have a clear avatar (or multiple avatars) of people that you want to attract, including the mediums that they hang out on, read, and respond to the best.
What Does He Or She Like?
If you have a presence online, you can find out a lot of information about your prospective customers by simply looking at the people that are already interacting with your brand.
After all, if a person shows interest in your brand beyond just buying your products, that means that you share values that can be a solid selling point and increase customer loyalty.
You should try to identify the prospects that regularly visit your site and spend time browsing through it, participate in the comments section and share your content, follow you on social media, or subscribe to your lists.
This information allows you to gain more valuable insights about what kinds of people tend to be more responsive to your brand and your products and focus your attention to attracting more of them because they are, in the end, your biggest fans and best customers.
Where Is He Or She On The Buyer’s Cycle?
Finally, once you have more information about your target customer, you can start identifying where they are on the buyer’s cycle – different groups of customers are likely to be at various points, so you should begin developing lead nurturing strategies that help provide a more personalized experience.
Some of your leads will be ready to buy as soon as they reach your site, but for many others, that won’t be the case. Lots of people want to learn more about your products, or may not even have a clarified need for them at all, so you need to provide them with the necessary information to show how they can solve their pressing issues by using your products or services.
Knowing how to cater to different customers and how to provide an experience that’s right for their needs is what makes for an effective lead nurturing strategy and helps you get the most out of your marketing budget.
Lead Nurturing is All About Your Customer
As you may have gathered from the previous section, any successful lead nurturing strategy begins and ends with the customers – the more you know about who they are and what they like, the better you can personalize your communications and maximize the chances of generating a positive response.
By this point, you should have your basic buyer profiles that can serve as a starting point for developing your lead nurturing strategy.
But how exactly does a lead nurturing campaign look like?
Well, there are dozens, if not hundreds of different ways to personalize the experiences of your prospective customers. It could be a series of emails that answer common questions and objections, provide useful information, guide the reader forward, and build value for your prospect.
But you could use other communication channels and stretch your campaign over a more extended period of time, engaging your prospects in different ways to provide a more immersive experience.
No matter what format you end up choosing, the most important thing is to make the content as relevant to your audience as possible – even a simple lead nurturing campaign could be very effective as long as it delivers value and addresses the pressing needs of the audience.
Without engaging and relevant content, it will be all but impossible to develop a lead nurturing strategy that brings tangible results. In fact, if you don’t provide a personalized experience, you are actively losing a large percentage of your customers.
According to a guide by Hubspot, 74% of online website visitors get frustrated when content isn’t personalized and could decide not to come back to the site again.
People don’t like poorly timed attempts to sell to them, so you need to engage them and build trust before pitching, but if you can provide a personalized experience that takes into account the individual preferences of each user, your offers will come as a natural progression and will have a much higher chance of succeeding.
Still, developing a lead nurturing system that works takes time, so don’t expect it to work flawlessly from day one. The good news is that every prospect will provide insights and learning opportunities which, over time, should allow you to get as close as possible to the right balance of content and promotional materials.
Alright, so now that we’ve gone through the fundamental principles and requirements of a successful lead nurturing strategy, we can take a look at specific tactics that you could implement.
Personalized Email Marketing
Email marketing can be the most powerful strategy at your disposal if you know how to use it. However, most emails that companies send out are little more than a disturbance to the reader.
That’s where a lead nurturing-based approach to email marketing can make a huge difference.
Instead of running continuous promotions for your products, you should try to understand what are the expectations that your reader has regarding what you send them and develop an email personalization strategy.
This can help to improve the responsiveness of your subscribers, increase conversion rates, and help your company establish a more prominent role as an authority figure in your field.
Here are a few tactics for improving your emails and making them more relevant to your readers.
1. Have a Strong Subject Line
The subject line is the most important part of your email – if you’re not able to create a subject line that resonates with the reader and is relevant, it won’t matter how good your actual content is because it will just not get read.
But what makes a good headline?
Well, at its very essence, the best subject lines must be concise and enticing curiosity, but most importantly, it must be created with your reader’s interests in mind.
2. Provide Relevant Information
If there’s one thing that all subscribers hate, is clickbait-y or misleading headlines that get them to open the email only to be disappointed.
That’s why you should do your best to provide information that’s relevant to your reader if he decides to read your email.
Luckily, there are plenty of powerful CRM software solutions that provide you with all the information that’s available about a lead so that you can develop messages that fit perfectly with his needs.
This way, instead of bombarding your lead’s inbox with cookie-cutter messages that don’t take into account his situation, you can create highly-targeted email lists that you can nurture.
The best news is that as more time passes, you can segment your lists and tweak your messages to provide the best possible experience to all of your subscribers. And since as much as 48% of subscribers want more informative and personalized content, this will give you an advantage that will undoubtedly translate into your email marketing performance numbers as well.
3. Be Consistent with Your Emails
Email marketing has completely changed how businesses can communicate with their audiences. Before email, a company often had only one shot to tell its entire story, so it had to resort to lengthy one-off messages that assumed that the reader didn’t know anything.
Today, that’s no longer necessary.
Email marketing allows to gradually educate your readers and provide them with personalized information that’s not only relevant and engaging but also enticing them to move towards deciding to become customers.
However, for your email marketing campaigns to work, you need to ensure that you remain consistent. You need to set clear expectations for the reader from the time that he subscribes to your newsletter and then meet those expectations every step of the way.
If you change the frequency or even style of your messaging, that will cause a disruption that will not be welcomed by a significant number of your readers.
However, if you meet those expectations and consistently provide relevant and valuable content, employing the best email marketing services to help you make it happen, your subscribers will stick around and eagerly await your next email.
In an ideal scenario for the business, once visitors reach your website, they are ready to become customers immediately and will take steps to get on your list or in touch with your company.
However, that’s rarely, if ever, the case.
Most of your site’s visitors will leave – either because they’re not ready to buy yet, or haven’t been sold that you’re the right choice for their needs.
However, that doesn’t mean that you have to accept that they’re gone forever – with remarketing advertising, you can re-engage those visitors and provide them further information, which can often help to persuade those visitors to reconsider what you have to offer.
But what’s the exact process for making it happen?
Well, there are countless ways of putting together a retargeting campaign, but one of the most common methods involves implementing an abandoned cart recovery system in ecommerce stores.
When users leave the site after adding items to their cart, you can use browser cookies to display hyper-targeted ads on social media or search engines, reminding them of their abandoned cart and offering them incentives for completing the purchase.
Basically, any time someone leaves your site without completing the action that you want them to, you can re-engage them using paid ads. It can be a very effective strategy of converting website visitors to leads because those visitors have already expressed interest in what you have to offer and are thus much more likely to respond if you get your offer in front of them again.
Employ a Chatbot
The habits of online users are changing all the time, and recently, chatbots have become an increasingly popular way to interact for many website visitors.
The reason why chatbots are appearing on more websites is the fact that today’s advances have made them much more adept at handling customer questions and request automatically.
It can help you provide a personalized experience to your site’s visitors based on their interactions with the chatbots, which can immensely help with your lead nurturing efforts, so chatbots promise to be one of the communication trends that will continue to evolve and become more prominent.
And that’s great news for your lead nurturing campaigns as well – having the ability to pre-qualify leads before interacting with them in person is a luxury that can make a huge difference.
And since online users prefer texting and chat over a voice-based communication line with a business, it makes even more sense to use chatbots for your dealings with prospective customer simply because it can help to improve customer experience with your business. By tracking some significant customer satisfaction metrics, you can turn a happy customer into loyal one.
Use a Clear Call to Action
One of the most common reasons why marketing campaigns fail is not having a clear and enticing call to action – it can be surprising to discover how many companies that otherwise have a solid lead generation funnel fail to achieve success because they don’t understand how to ask their prospects to take the next step towards becoming a customer.
That’s especially surprising when you consider how relatively simple it is to fix.
In essence, the call to action, otherwise called a CTA for short, is a banner, line of text, or an image that tells your visitor what he should do next at different points of their journey through your communications with them.
As the name implies, its very purpose is to call on the reader to take a particular action, which should be the next logical step at that point.
But what makes for a good call to action?
Well, the very first thing to consider is that a good call to action must offer value. In a more traditional sense, the value might be an offering of a consultation, a discount, or a freebie such as an ebook or report – basically, anything that the reader might be interested enough in to take the action that you want them to.
The action usually involves either a subscription to your newsletter or another format of updates or the call to action to buy your products or services.
Some business owners aren’t sure where to include a call to action, but when you think about it, there’s no wrong place to add it. You should have at least one call to action in all of your content and communications with your prospects because if you don’t, they are likely to leave and go elsewhere.
The actual content of the call to action matters as well.
If you have a way to personalize it to fit each reader based on where they are in their buyer’s journey, that would significantly increase its effectiveness. Otherwise, you should try to make it urgent, use action-driven verbs, and make sure to include personal pronouns that make it look more like a conversation.
Finally, don’t forget to make your call to action prominent and clearly visible – if you bury your CTA in a block of text without any way for it to grab attention, your readers are likely to simply miss it.
An added side bonus of including a compelling call to action is a reduced bounce rate – you’d be surprised how many visitors leave a website because they don’t know what they should do or read next.
Make Sure to Follow-Up
One of the most critical lead nurturing tactics is following up with your prospects – no matter how you’re communicating, you should make sure that you remind them of your business and why it’s a good idea to work with you.
Since attracting leads is the single most expensive part of any marketing campaign, it’s essential to make the most out of the leads that you already have with timely and relevant follow-ups.
The best news is that if you’re able to personalize your follow-ups on a lead-to-lead basis, the simple act of contacting the lead again might make a significant amount of “on the fence” prospects become customers.
But how should your follow-ups look like?
Well, there are actually specific steps you can take. The first follow-up shouldn’t try too hard to sell the prospect immediately – you should consider that they might just need a little nudge and could otherwise already be sold on your services. After all, they have shown their interest already and may have been busy or unable to purchase before.
But the first follow-up may not be enough. In that case, make sure to contact the prospect again and remind them about why your offer makes sense by highlighting your product’s benefits and perhaps even offering a little incentive to buy now.
If you’ve been collecting information on the lead such as the pages that they’ve visited, what they subscribed to, or what they added to their shopping cart, you can use it to personalize the message and show them that you understand their needs.
Lastly, you should remember that no matter how good your lead nurturing strategy, not all of your leads will become customers.
Instead of trying too hard to sell people who just aren’t interested, you should try to make the situation at least somewhat useful by trying to gain insights why that particular lead chose to not buy from you.
A good way to do that is to politely ask the lead if he could take a few minutes to fill out a survey to collect user feedback and answer questions about your services and offerings. If they agree, at least you might gain a better understanding of what you could improve on and not make the same mistakes in the future.